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Alex
We pursued something similar in our attempt to create a model that 
matches leaders identifed as receiving the most nominations and matching 
them to their nearest peers for implementation of behavior change programs.

Valente, T. W., & Davis, R. L. (1999). Accelerating the diffusion of 
innovations using opinion leaders.  The Annals of the American Academy 
of the Political and Social Sciences, 566, 55-67.

You might also consult Borgatti's Key Player paper and software:
Borgatti, S. (2006). Identifying key players in a social network. 
Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory 
<http://www.nap.edu/books/0309089522/html/>, 12, 21-34.

- Tom

Alexander Nikolaev wrote:

>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
>Dear SOCNET members,
>
>I am new to this area of research, and have a very general question. As I
>understand, social network science currently focuses on describing communications in
>various environments via mathematical modeling (e.g., writing mathematical
>expressions to describe communication mechanisms, proposing regression-like models,
>estimating coefficients for such models using the often-mentioned SIENA, etc.). I'd
>like to know if any effort has been put forth to create methodologies for
>optimization on social networks, with a goal of developing provably convergent
>algorithms that find the best strategies for influencing networks in order to
>achieve some pre-specified goal, GIVEN a model. Any advice/references would be much
>appreciated.
>
>Thank you.
>
>Sincerely,
>Alex Nikolaev.
>
>Ph.D.,
>Adjunct Assistant Professor,
>Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering,
>Northwestern University.
>
>_____________________________________________________________________
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>
>  
>

-- 
Thomas W. Valente, PhD
Director, Master of Public Health Program
http://www.usc.edu/medicine/mph/
Department of  Preventive Medicine
Keck  School of Medicine
University of Southern California
1000 S. Fremont Ave., Unit #8
Building A Room 5110		
Alhambra CA 91803		
phone: (626) 457-4139
cell: (626) 429-4123
fax: (626) 457-6699
email: [log in to unmask]

Social Networks and Health: Models, Methods, and Applications:
http://www.oup.com/us (promo code: 28569)

My personal webpage:
http://www-hsc.usc.edu/~tvalente/

The Empirical Networks Project
http://ipr1.hsc.usc.edu/networks/

Evaluating Health Promotion Programs
(Oxford U. Press):
www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195141768.html


_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.